10 Business Intelligence Trends for 2016

BI analysts, industry players predict the rise of self-service, Big Data analytics, real-time data in the coming year.

By Rob Marvin

future-of-business-intelligenceHeading into 2016, the business intelligence (BI) landscape is one very much in flux. Big Data, cloud services, predictive analytics, and data science are continually innovating spaces that each feed into BI, constantly changing the role it plays within enterprises and a growing number of small to midsize businesses (SMBs).

This past year saw a big shift toward businesses leveraging self-service analytics data. Rita Sallam, a Research Vice President at Gartner who focuses on BI and analytics, said self-service data preparation will become an increasingly important component of a pervasive modern BI platform deployment, be it through embedded tools or geared toward improving data governance.

"2016 is the year of modern BI and analytics [BI&A] platform," said Sallam. "The BI&A market is in the final stages of a multiyear shift from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to pervasive, business-led, self-service analytics. Organizations will continue to transition to easy-to-use, fast, agile, and trusted modern BI&A platforms deployed across the enterprise to create business value from deeper insights into diverse data sources."

What the Analysts Predict

Aside from even greater momentum behind self-service BI, Sallam also predicted a combination of analytics tools, data, and algorithms available through analytics marketplaces will play a core part in improving deployment time and data insights while compensating for the scarcity of data science skills. Sallam also sees bigger tech companies driving an uptick in cloud-based BI.

"Interest in cloud BI deployments for new projects will finally increase due to shift in data gravity, perception of value, as well as the entrance of major players such as Microsoft and Amazon," said Sallam. "Until now, cloud adoption has mostly been limited to organizations with most of their data in the cloud and/or to lines of business."

IDC's Dan Vesset agreed, projecting 2016 spending on cloud-based BI technology will grow 4.5x faster than spending for on-premises solutions. Vesset, IDC's Program Vice President for Business Analytics and Big Data, also projects that spending on self-service visual discovery and data preparation tools will grow 2.5x faster in 2016 than traditional IT-controlled tools, and said it will necessitate a fundamental IT culture change.

intelligent-business-world"Responding to the demand for self-service BI technology will necessitate a reassessment of current centralized IT practices," said Vesset. "IT will need to recognize the full range of different [BI&A] needs and ensure that the full technology stack or services are available to address the self-service needs of user group.

10 Predictions From the Industry

We polled several established BI companies on the biggest trends they predict for the industry in 2016. Here's what they envision:

1. Evolution of Self-Service BI

"In the coming year, self-service analytics will evolve beyond just self-service for analysts. There will be self-service information for the masses delivered not through tools but through purpose-built interfaces and apps. Just as the ATM in banking evolved from a cash-dispensing machine to a full transaction and account management terminal, so too will self-service mature and spread to the masses." -Dr. Rado Kotorov, Chief Innovation Officer at Information Builders

2. More Advanced, Customizable Visualizations

"There will be an emphasis on tools that will create more powerful graphics and, in particular, more advanced cloud authoring capabilities. While this will satisfy the data engineers, the industry will continue to struggle with user-friendly tools for the occasional consumer. Business analytics in the SMB space will slowly begin to move away from the traditional compliance reporting involving rows and columns to visualization snippets in the form of dashboards for browser-based applications, and simple graphical elements on mobile devices and tablets." -Chuck Vigeant, M.Ed, President at Clearify

3. A Screen In the Hand Is Worth Two On the Desk

"BI and visualization solutions that don't support users moving from device to device, often and at speed, will not deliver the kinds of experience people want, including governed data discovery. Governed data enables users to ask 'why?' frequently throughout the discovery process, rather than questioning whether the data is correct when the report is submitted. Since everyone is using the same information, more efficient, accurate and timely decisions will be made." -James Richardson, Business Analytic Strategist at Qlik.

Continued on next page ...